Join Bonnie Biafore for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with remote teams, part of Project Management Foundations: Schedules.
When team members work in different locations, there are additional factors to consider. Taking the pros and cons of remote teams into account when you schedule and assign resources will help keep your project running smoothly. The first step in assigning members of remote teams should be familiar. Set up team members' work schedules to reflect their working days and times. If people work in different time zones, choose a primary time zone for the project. The one where you work, or the one where most people are located, for example.
Then, define each person's working times based on that time zone. Keep in mind that if people work in different companies or countries, you need to identify holidays and other non-working time that may differ from your company or country. For international teams, it's often a challenge to find a good time for phone calls, reviews and other interactions. Talk to the team members involved to determine the most convenient time and schedule the task then. After you get working and nonworking times in place, it's time to consider the other ways that these teams can affect your project schedule. International teams can give your project what seems like a longer workday. You can assign tasks so that people in one part of the world complete work before the end of their workday, and hand it off to people in another part of the world who are just starting theirs.
If this kind of hand-off is an option, break work down into one-day chunks so the work can flow from time zone to time zone. Expanding your resource pull to include members of remote teams can help by providing more resources for tasks. If these teams result in more people working on a task, the work can get done more quickly. Be sure to add time, 5 to 10% for example, for coordination, communication and resolving misunderstandings. Another advantage of remote teams is that you aren't limited by distance, so you can find the best people for an assignment.
The right person can get work done in less time, so you decrease the estimated work hours for a task and shorten its duration. The bad news is that remote teams sometimes aren't as productive, because distance can prevent team members from building good working relationships. Or communicating as effectively as people in the same location. Here are some steps you can take to overcome distance issues. Set up conference calls or video calls so team members can get to know one another. Hold regular online meetings to keep everyone informed.
Help team members communicate more effectively over the phone and through e-mail. Consider offering diversity training to help team members work better with people from other cultures. Once you know how remote teams work, you can tweak your schedule to make the most of the benefits and limit the impact of the challenges.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Identifying the work that needs to be done
- Adding milestones
- Delaying or overlapping tasks with lag and lead time
- Assigning resources
- Balancing workloads
- Adding buffers and baselines to the schedule
- Uncovering and correcting out schedule problems<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.